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Monday, October 8, 2012

Ricky Frank's Meatloaf and Cauliflower Puree - Love you Mommy!

Once again, yes, I am a pescatarian, but sometimes I cook meat for my mom.  Mom is 95 years old and if she wants meat, I’m going to make it for her. 
Meatloaf is the ultimate American carnivore comfort food. And this one is for my mom.  The fall weather just arrived, it was raining and this was the way to make mom feel comfy.  We had meatloaf (no, I didn’t taste it), cauliflower puree, luchen kugel (Jewish style mac and cheese) and roasted carrots.  Mom was happy and so was everyone else at the table.  My brother-in-law Steve couldn’t believe that he liked the cauliflower puree – a good Shabbat dinner for all.
Some hints:  mom doesn’t like strong spices, so rather than using straight garlic, I roasted it.  This was something new for her and she couldn’t believe that garlic, on its own, could taste sweet and delicious.  I ended up using the whole head and she said it was just perfect.  I should have used 2 and added the 2nd to the cauliflower puree. 
Mom's mom always put a hard boiled egg in the middle of the meatloaf - of course, I did it too. If you're serving this to kids, it's the prize!  It was the prize for us too, since this is how my grandmother served it and maybe even her mom before that.
I use only beef chuck when I make this.  I know that most people use a combination of beef, pork and veal, but I wouldn't use pork for my mom, and I wouldn't use veal for anyone, so I just stick to beef and my carnivorous relatives loved it. 

This meatloaf was very light, that is, everyone said it didn’t feel like it weighed a ton while and after they ate it.  I believe this is due to 2 things: 1) panko bread crumbs, they’re light and airy 2) not squishing the meat when combining the ingredients.  Squishing the meat when you are trying to combine the ingredients makes it too dense.
One more meatloaf hint - if you want it perfectly shaped (which I really don't care about), you can make it in a loaf pan first and then turn it over into the pan in which it will be cooked.

Then there's the cauliflower puree.  This is great for people who think they hate cauliflower.  A lot of recipes call for cream, which is delicious, but so is the buttermilk and that's the way I choose to go with it.  Make your own choice. I had to beg Steve to just take a little taste, that's how much he hates caulifower.  He ended up having 2 full servings. 
Go to Meatloaf Recipe

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